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Jazz Articles | Blog

BEST OF / YEAR END

Dan McClenaghan's Best Releases Of 2016

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The music keeps moving forward, evolving to higher levels. My search for the best jazz recordings of 2016 led me to these marvelous CDs. Wadada Leo SmithAmerica's National Parks Cuneiform Records Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith has attempted in, the new millennium, to create his magnum opus. He may have succeeded with America's National Parks, a sprawling, dark-hued masterpiece celebrating the Mississippi River, New Orleans, Yellowstone, Yosemite and more.. Adam PieronczykMonte Alban

Best of Mr. P.C. 2016

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Dear Mr. P.C.: I'm just an audience member, but I have a question on behalf of a lot of us listeners: If I make a request and the band plays it, do I have to listen to the whole thing? After they play the melody and then go into all the other stuff, sometimes I'd rather talk to my friends or just leave. --Short Attention Span Suzie Dear SASS: Don't ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Allen Carter Big Band: Time on My Hands

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In 2010, composer / arranger / drummer Allen Carter seemingly appeared from out of nowhere (North Dakota, actually) to record Gifts, his first album as a big-band leader and one of the more impressive anthologies in that or any other year. As 2016 passed its midpoint and moved inexorably toward a final bow, Carter decided the time had come to record again, and in so doing held fast to the maxim “if it ain't broke, don't fix it." In other ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jeff Parker: Slight Freedom

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One is tempted to think of Jeff Parker as the first guitar anti-hero. He's a subtle player, first and foremost, not given to showy pyrotechnics and rapid-fire flights of plectral fancy. His chameleonic, almost self-effacing, presence on recordings by Tortoise, Joey DeFrancesco, Isotope 217, Fred Anderson, the Brian Blade Fellowship, Peter Erskine, Nicole Mitchell, Yo La Tengo, Hamid Drake, Joshua Redman, Scott Amendola, George Lewis and countless others is startling for its sheer stylistic diversity. Yet, Parker, unlike pretty much ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Illegal Crowns: Illegal Crowns

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Three quarters of the cast on Illegal Crowns comprises familiar faces and frequent collaborators. Cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum and guitarist Mary Halvorson have enjoyed long associations with iconoclastic composer and reedman Anthony Braxton. With the addition of drummer Tomas Fujiwara, they constitute Bynum's Trio and the larger part of The Thirteenth Assembly, whose Station Direct (Important, 2011) was one of the unsung classics of that year. The ringer here is French pianist Benoit Delbecq who, as well as leading his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Holly Bowling: Better Left Unsung

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As wry as is the implication of its title, Holly Bowling's double album of Grateful Dead material, Better Left Unsung, is utterly absorbing. These thirteen wholly instrumental, solo piano renditions of material spanning the spectrum of the iconic San Francisco band's songbook illuminate why the songs are so memorable on their own terms as well as fodder for inspired improvisation. Perhaps it's Holly Bowling's her background as a classically trained pianist, but she never dumbs down her playing. ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Calling Ra, Mr. Sun Ra you're rocket ship is ready

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How prophetic is it that we now live in the second century of Sun Ra's earthly existence? Born (maybe) in Alabama 1914, Herman Poole Blount became the pianist, arranger, band leader, poet, and can we say prophet(?) we know as Sun Ra. He was both a man of his times and a messenger from the space. I say he was maybe born in 1914, because the person known as Sonny Blount claimed to have been abducted by space aliens in ...

BEST OF / YEAR END

Mark Sullivan's Best Releases of 2016

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So many reviews this year, in so many genres, that I've split them into two categories--"Jazz" and “Latin, World & Experimental"--in response to the feeling that I was trying to compare apples to oranges. They're presented in more or less chronological order, and the guiding principle was whether I had a clear memory of the recording even before I went back to listen to it again. A few of these were drawn from Multiple Review articles, and I cheated a ...


All About Vince Guaraldi!

An exclusive opportunity for All About Jazz readers to participate in the celebration of a jazz legend.